It’s the win Tonya Harding wanted her entire life. And across the weekend, it was 26-year-old Australian actress and producer Margot Robbie who made that always-distant victory a reality. I, Tonya – the dark comedy which centres upon Harding’s involvement in the 1994 attack on rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan – opened to a more than impressive AUD $327 000 at four locations in the United States.
One screening included the prestigious Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles and another at the Angelika and AMX Loews Lincoln Square in New York City. By comparison, James Franco’s The Disaster Artist opened in a limited release in 19 locations and pulled in AUD $1.59 million.
Recently, Robbie shut down reporters at a press conference when they tried to deviate from questions about the film. Instead, they asked about her relationship. “Being married is not my achievement,” Robbie baulked. “My achievement is producing this film and having a producing deal with a major studio – that is my achievement.” The room reportedly fell silent and questions from then on stuck to the film.
I, Tonya, which won’t be showing for Australian audiences until February 2018, was premiered in the United States last week and Robbie invited along the real Harding as her date. “I flew to meet Tonya Harding right before we started shooting and… we showed her the movie,” Robbie said in a recent interview with Chris Pratt on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “She was so lovely, she was more worried about me than I was about her and she was like, ‘How are you going with the skating?’ And I said, ‘I mean it’s really, really hard.’” Tonya offered to take Robbie to the closest skate rink to help work on her technique. “[But] they didn’t let me bring my skates on the plane!’”
The film is told from two conflicting perspectives. When pressed, it was difficult to decipher whose side Robbie believed to be true. She did hint though that perhaps the media skewed our decision-making process. “It was an interesting time to reflect on media and how we as a society kind of eat up what we are given and what we are told in these little sound bites, and you pass judgment so quickly.” Robbie continued, talking about the film. “So I have learned not to judge so quickly.”
The film also stars Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney.